Coronavirus: Mexico halts production of Corona beer amid virus outbreak

Not all publicity has been good publicity for Mexico’s Corona beer amid the global outbreak of the virus which shares its name.

Numerous photographs have appeared of cases of the lager left on supermarket shelves as the coronavirus crisis hit the UK, and the company said last month it was facing its worst quarter in 10 years, primarily due to falling sales in China as the virus put an end to nightlife.

Now, a temporary ban on non-essential activities in Mexico due to the coronavirus pandemic is to put a stop to beer exports from the country.

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Corona owner Grupo Modelo said on Thursday it would be pausing production of the beer and other brands exported to 180 countries after its business activities were declared non-essential under the government order aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Mexico this week declared a health emergency and ordered the suspension of non-essential activities after the number of coronavirus cases in the country surpassed 1,000. 

On Thursday, the country reported 1,510 cases and 50 deaths.

Grupo Modelo said in a statement the suspension will come into force from Sunday. The company is already in the process of scaling down brewery operations to reduced level at which it could resume if the suspension is lifted.

“If the federal government considers it appropriate to issue some clarification confirming beer as an agro-industrial product, at Grupo Modelo we are ready to execute a plan with more than 75 per cent of our staff working from home and at the same time guaranteeing the supply of beer,” the statement said.

Agriculture and food production in general are considered essential activities.

Corona beer left on the shelves at a London supermarket, as the number of coronavirus cases grow around the world

Grupo Modelo, which is part of the brewing group Anheuser-Busch InBev, operates 11 breweries in Mexico.

A survey of over 700 US beer drinkers last week indicated 38 per cent of Americans would not buy Corona “under any circumstances” because of the outbreak, and another 14 per cent said they would avoid ordering a Corona in public.

A YouGov poll published last week also revealed a fall in thirst for the beer.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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